A DU student’s campaign to save Mughal era structure, Zafar Mahal

  • Nikita Saxena, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 21, 2016 18:03 IST
Zafar Mahal is a summer palace and is among the last structures built by the Mughals. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)

This city’s youngsters are on a mission--to save the historical monuments of Delhi. To start with, a 20-year- old Delhi University (DU) student has started a campaign to create awareness about the illegal construction of a building that is using the wall of Zahar Mahal. Rupali Rakheja, the founder of the campaign and a student of College of Vocational Studies (CVS), says, “We started the campaign ‘I Stand For Zafar Mahal’ to tell people about the encroachment on Zafar Mahal. The campaign is both online and offline. A building is being constructed using a wall of the monument. This is illegal because any sort of construction within 100 metres of a monument is prohibited.”

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The campaign, started on May 13, has around 30 members and has garnered support from around 150 people already. Rakheja says, “There are some heritage activists who have joined us in the campaign. We’re trying to get help from Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) as well. People have been very supportive, even strangers have offered their help.”

The campaign, started on May 13, has around 30 members and has garnered support from around 150 people already.

To spread the message even further, the group has started organising heritage walks to the Zafar Mahal. “People are clicking pictures with placards that read ‘I Stand For Zafar Mahal’ and posting them on social networks to make the campaign viral on the internet. We will organise plays and other such activities to create awareness among the public. We have also started an online petition so that the monument can be saved. People are being very supportive, even strangers have come forward and offered their support,” she adds.

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While the group has been trying to get as much help as possible, the process hasn’t been easy for them. Shreya Saxena, a volunteer and a CVS student, shares that the authorities haven’t been of much help. She says, “We’ve tried taking the help of the authorities but nobody wants to get into these matters. It was like going around in circles. Also, since most of us are college students, we had to focus on the ongoing exams. Now we’ll run the campaign in full swing.”

Talking about what prompted her to start this campaign, Rakheja says, “Zafar Mahal is a summer palace and is the last Mughal monument to be built in the Capital. The monument is one of its kind and not only is it in a bad shape already, but now it is being encroached upon. It is our duty to preserve historical monuments because they connect us to our heritage.”

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